- Convention planning is going well and you should be able to see some details on the MACD website soon. Heidi from Lake CD is running a tight ship, making good progress, and the agenda looks exciting. Our convention website has all the information as it becomes available.
- Planning for the Area Meetings is underway. Click here to see the schedule and draft agendas. We invited the Governor’s Office and Department of Agriculture to participate this year. If you need a ride from Helena, let us know.
- MACD participates in a periodic Core Partnership meeting with all key partners. If you have things that you’d like me to bring forward to this group, please advise.
- MACD has received two resolutions to date, and we are expecting a third. You can read the proposed resolutions on our website here.
- Interviews for the two senior staff positions are underway and we hope to continue to make progress.
- DNRC is making progress on hiring another lawyer for the Conservation Districts. They should make a selection quite soon.
- EPA’s Annual National Drinking Water Council meeting is scheduled on December 4-5, 2019, in Washington, DC. I serve on that Council and will take any issues you have for them. Please let me know.
- I’m working irregular hours but try to be available Monday through Friday 7:30 AM until noon. I monitor my emails all-day seven days per week and will respond to questions I can answer immediately. Questions that need research or details will be answered upon my return to the office.
Employee & Supervisor of the Year Nominations
The time has come to nominate outstanding conservation district employees and supervisors for the MACDEO’s annual Employee and Supervisor of the Year Awards. Nominations are due by September 1, and awards will be presented at the annual MACD convention in November.
This is a great opportunity to recognize the hard work that goes into forwarding our mission of local, common sense conservation.
RDG Planning Grants available
The DNRC Reclamation and Development Grants Program (RDGP) is now accepting grant applications to fund planning and assessment for natural resource projects. Up to $50,000 is available per planning project to any city, county, Tribe, conservation district, or other local government subdivision in Montana.Applications are due Thursday October 10 by 5 pm.
NEW: Initial review of applications will begin on September 5. Applications submitted by September 5 will be reviewed with up to half of available funding being awarded by September 15. Applications received by September 5, but not initially awarded will be kept for review with remaining applications received October 10.
Interested in hosting a Big Sky Watershed Corps Member in 2020?
Applications to host a Big Sky Watershed Corps member are available now. Please find the application on SWCDM’s website.
The Big Sky Watershed Corps program provides host sites with a college graduate to assist organizations with local conservation efforts. If your conservation district is in need of extra assistance to work on projects, consider hosting a member. More information is available on our website.
Members join their host sites in early January and stay on board until mid-November. Cost share for the program is $12,250 for the entire term and the program provides payroll, workers compensation insurance, and health benefits to the members. Host sites are able to select their member and conduct interviews to ensure they have a member that will best serve district needs.
Please let the SWCDM office know if you are interested in the program, need assistance with the application, or if you are interested, but have concerns about the cost share. Additionally, you might consider talking to one of the districts that have hosted a member in the past:
- Beaverhead CD
- Broadwater CD
- Cascade CD
- Flathead CD
- Lake County CD
- Lewis & Clark CD
- Madison CD
- Missoula CD
- Park CD
- Petroleum County CD
- Phillips CD
- Richland CountyCD
- Ruby Valley CD
- Sheridan County CD
- Valley County CD
Notes from DNRC
Cooperative working agreements – Under current agreements, conservation districts, DNRC, and NRCS have outlined working relationships, shared objectives, and mutual understandings through a 3-way working agreement. According to federal law, it has been determined that things of value (rent, internet, vehicle usage) cannot be transferred under these existing agreements so they must be replaced with specific Cooperative Working Agreements or Contribution Agreements. Here is what you need to know:
- Existing Cooperative Working Agreements signed by CDs, DNRC, and NRCS in 2014 will be replaced by a new Memorandum of Agreement.
- If your district is co-located in a USDA building and if NRCS is providing the conservation district office space, internet, or vehicle use, a separate Cooperative Working Agreement will need to be signed. If your district is in this situation:
- You will sign two agreements – the Memorandum of Agreement and the Cooperative Agreement. This will apply to 49 conservation districts (9 conservation districts either own their own building or are not housed in a USDA building).
- You may be required to obtain a DUNs number. We are checking into this, but if this is the case, be ready.
- You will be required to report on the deliverables of this cooperative agreement annually. NRCS is seeking approval of a check list to make this requirement easy.
- DNRC has been provided templates and has sent the templates to districts. These are guidelines not requirements. However, agreements that follow the template format will be approved faster. Nationally, they are working on a template to include partners, but they are not yet available.
- Look over the documents (sent separately from Laurie) and send me your general comments right away. Once the templates are set, it may not be easy to make any other changes, so commenting early is essential. Don’t sign any agreement until the final template is sent. They are shooting for a December 31 deadline to have the agreements signed.
Area Representative Elections Coming Up
- Area 1: Willie Bernard
- Area 2: Tony Barone
- Area 3: Steve Hedstrom
- Area 4: Don Youngbauer
- Area 5: Bill Naegli
- Area 6: Rick VanDyken